What Washing Machine Spin Speed Is Gentle?

When it comes to caring for your clothes, understanding the spin speed of your washing machine can make a significant difference. 

A washing machine’s spin speed is measured by revolutions per minute (RPM), and this directly impacts both the drying time and the wear and tear on your clothes. The higher the RPM, the more moisture will be removed, but it can be very stressful for your fabrics and cause damage. 

For many of us who want to preserve the quality and lifespan of our clothes, choosing a gentle spin speed is essential. A gentle spin speed ranges from 400 to 600 RPM, and is more than enough to decrease drying time while reducing the risk of damage, especially on delicate fabrics. 

In this article, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about gentle spin speeds and how they can benefit your laundry routine. 

What Is Considered A Gentle Spin Speed On A Washing Machine?

The primary function of the spin cycle on a washing machine is to extract water from your clothes by using centrifugal force. Higher spin speeds result in more water being removed, which can decrease drying time, but is unfortunately harsher on your clothes. This is why gentle speeds are recommended, even if most washers are capable of reaching a spin speed of 1200 RPM or more. 

A gentle spin speed in washing machines is typically marked around 400 to 600 revolutions per minute (RPM). This reduced speed lessens the force exerted on clothes, which is very beneficial for garments made from delicate materials like silk, lace, and fine knitwear. Gentle speeds are also best for light clothing while higher speeds are better for thick fabrics like towels or jeans.

The Benefits Of Using Gentle Spin Speeds

Using a gentle spin speed has a lot of advantages, particularly when handling delicate fabrics. Here are some of them:

Reduced Wear And Tear

Gentle spins prevent excessive pulling and stretching, thus maintaining the integrity of your garments.

air drying an embroidered shirt

Less Creasing

Lower spin speeds reduce creasing, which can decrease the need for extensive ironing. Who wants to spend all that time removing wrinkles from their clothes? 

ironing a shirt

Improved Lifespan Of Clothes

By minimising stress on fabrics, gentle spins can help your clothes last longer, making them look as good as new.

viscose dress

Of course, with the pros come a con: Using gentle spins extract less water from your clothing, which will result in longer drying times. It is also less effective for heavy items like towels. 

If you are washing heavy fabrics, go for a higher spin speed cycle for an efficient laundry session. 

How Do You Change The Spin Speed?

Changing the spin speed on your washing machine is typically simple, as most modern machines already come equipped with a digital panel where you can select the spin cycle. 

Here’s how you can adjust it:

  • Check Your Machine’s Manual
    Different models have various settings, so it’s best to consult your machine’s manual for specific instructions.
  • Check Your Machine’s Settings
    Look for a button or dial marked ‘Spin Speed’ on your machine’s control panel.
  • Select Your Desired Speed
    Depending on your machine, you can choose from several options. For delicates, select the lowest available speed, which is usually marked as ‘Delicate’ or ‘Gentle’.
  • Start Your Wash
    After setting the spin speed, you can start your wash as usual. The machine will follow the chosen spin settings throughout the cycle.

Recommended Spin Speed For Different Fabrics

Different fabrics require different care, and adjusting your spin speed accordingly can make a significant difference to the lifespan of your clothing.

Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the spin speed depending on your fabric:

Fabric TypeSpin Speed (RPM)
Silk and Delicates400

Of course, the table above is just a recommendation. Since not all fabrics are made with just one material and may contain a combination of two or more fabric types, it’s still best to follow the garment’s care label. 

SEE ALSO: What’s A Good Washing Machine Spin Speed To Use?

So Which Is Better – Gentle Or High Spin Speeds? 

The answer to this is: it depends. There are situations when using a gentle spin speed is better, and there are also times when it’s best to use higher speeds. 

To make it simple, here are the things you need to remember before we end this article:

When to Use Gentle Spin Speeds

Using a gentle spin speed works great for:

Delicate Fabrics

If you’re washing items made from silk, lace, or other delicate materials, a gentle spin speed will prevent the aggressive pulling and stretching that can cause damage.

Special Care Items

Clothes that have embellishments such as beads, sequins, or embroidery, or items like bras and lingerie, benefit from gentle handling to maintain their structure and detailing.

Reducing Wear And Tear

For any garments that you want to keep in top condition, gentle spins are preferable. They reduce the mechanical stress exerted during washing, thus preserving the fabric’s integrity and appearance.

When to Use High Spin Speeds

On the other hand, using a high spin speed would be better for:

Heavy And Durable Fabrics

Items like towels, jeans, and cotton bed linens can withstand higher spin speeds. These speeds are effective at extracting more water, which reduces drying time significantly.

Large Loads

When you have a full machine, a higher spin speed helps to more evenly and efficiently remove water, which is crucial for balanced drying.

Energy Efficiency 

If you’re aiming to save energy on drying, especially with machine drying, a higher spin speed can be beneficial. By extracting more water during the spin cycle, the dryer has less work to do, which can lead to energy savings.

And there you have it! Using a gentle spin speed is best for delicate fabrics, but it will still ultimately depend on several factors, such as the type and thickness of the fabric you’re laundering. 

By understanding the needs of different fabrics and adjusting your washing machine settings accordingly, you can maintain the quality and appearance of your clothes. When in doubt, always check the care labels!

Do you have questions? Feel free to leave a comment below.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What washing machine spin speed is considered gentle?

A gentle washing machine spin speed is considered to be between 400 to 600 revolutions per minute (RPM). This speed is sufficient to reduce drying time while minimising the risk of damage to delicate fabrics.

Does high washing machine spin speed damage clothes?

Yes, high washing machine spin speeds can damage clothes. Spin speeds higher than necessary can cause excessive wear and tear by pulling and stretching the fabric, which may lead to quicker degradation of your garments.

What spin speed is best for thick clothes?

The best spin speed for thick clothes, such as towels or jeans, is typically between 800 to 1000 RPM. These fabrics can handle higher spin speeds effectively, which helps in removing more water and reducing drying time.

Does the spin speed matter when washing clothes?

Yes, the spin speed does matter when washing clothes. Choosing the right spin speed based on the fabric type helps in adequately removing water without causing damage, which influences both the drying time and the longevity of the clothes.

What is the best washing machine programme to wash clothes on?

The best washing machine programme to wash clothes on depends on the type of fabric and the level of soiling. Generally, a programme that matches the fabric type (like delicates, wool, cotton) and offers temperature control and appropriate spin speeds will provide the most efficient and safe cleaning. Always refer to the care labels on your garments for specific instructions.

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